Relative Stability? Examining the Role of Placement with Relatives and Race/Ethnicity in Predicting Foster Care Placement Stability
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Scholarship on child welfare has found placement instability to be a major risk for foster youths’ later development and well-being. However, there have been mixed findings regarding the effect of placement type (relative or non-relative foster homes) on placement instability. Further, little is understood about how the child’s race/ethnicity shapes this relationship. To fill this knowledge gap, the present study seeks to answer the following research questions: (1) How does placement stability rate differ between children in relative care versus non-relative care? (2) How does placement stability rate differ across foster children’s race/ethnicity? (3) How does the placement type interact with the relationship between child’s race/ethnicity and stability rate? This study used nationally representative data from the 2018 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). T-test and logistic regression results confirm that both placement type and child’s race/ethnicity are significant predictors of placement instability. Furthermore, significant interaction effects between the child’s race/ethnicity and placement type were found. These findings suggest that stability rate significantly differs by child’s different racial/ethnic group membership as well as the type of placement setting. We also found that placement with relatives is a significant moderator in the relationship between child’s race/ethnicity and placement stability. Future research should further examine the relationship between child’s race/ethnicity, placement with relatives, and placement stability to inform culturally relevant child welfare practices.